Brazil manager Tite came to the defence of Neymar after the Pairs Saint-Germain winger was heavily criticised for play-acting during the Seleção’s 2-0 win over Mexico on Monday.
After a hard-fought first half Brazil found their way past El Tri’s stubborn defence following a moment of quick thinking from Willian, who squared the ball for Neymar to tap home. Roberto Firmino then came off the bench to score a similar goal in the last few minutes of the match.
“Is it a sin for Neymar to dribble with the ball in the opponent’s half? I want him to do that,” Tite said after the game, quoted by Marca. “If we expend energy in other situations that have nothing to do with football, we lose focus, Neymar is a guy who likes to play.
“Sometimes people don’t understand him, he’s very agile and fast.”
But Neymar has largely hit the headlines following an incident with Mexico substitute Miguel Layún, where the Brazil international appeared to play up an injury after being stepped on by the former Sevilla defender.
“Neymar plays football, he doesn’t stand on people, they stand on him,” he added. “The images are there for everyone who wants to see them.
“I was stood on the sideline and there is no doubt [that is what happened].”
Brazil’s win over Mexico has set up a quarter final match against Belgium. The Red Devils had to come from two goals down to beat Japan in their match on Monday, with Nacer Chadli proving to be the unlikely hero with a stoppage-time winner.
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